Exercise has been found, by numerous scientific studies, to do more than tone your body muscles, it also tones your brain muscle. So, when someone says you need to jog your memory they could be telling you to get up and move around to improve your brainpower.
When I speak to groups of people throughout the world about how to increase their memory, one of the main points I emphasize is that exercise is important in order to get the blood flowing throughout your body, and especially to your brain. Your brain needs oxygen and nutrients in order to function to its full capacity, and that comes through the bloodstream. If the flow is restricted, so is the supply to the brain that is needed to feed it.
Neuroscientists are finding that anxiety disorders that contribute to disconnections and malfunctioning of the areas of the brain that are believed to cause dementia can be improved with a regular exercise regiment. They are working to prove conclusively that dementia can be delayed, and perhaps even prevented entirely, by exercise and a proper diet.
With Baby Boomers coming of age where dementia is a big concern, and the fact that very few Americans actually adhere to a consistent exercise pattern and obesity is on the rise, it definitely is the time to get motivated and move around – for your mental and physical health.
Most research testing has been done on laboratory rodents at this point, but the results have been pointing to positive effects of exercise for the brain. They have shown an increase in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that has been found in the hippocampus area of the brain – the part believed to control cognitive functions.
The BDNF protein helps existing brain cells to survive by working on certain neurons and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and it’s surrounding areas. It also encourages new growth in that area. The protein is also active in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex and basal forebrain sections of the brain – important for memorization, learning and higher cognitive functions, and important for establishing long-term memory.
We form the majority of our brain cells before we are born, and until recently scientists believed these were all we would get. It is not known that a process, called neurogenesis, allows for the establishment of new brains cells throughout our lifetime. From research, scientists have found that mice born without the ability to produce BDNF usually die soon after birth from developmental defects in the brain and sensory nervous system. They believe this suggests that the protein is essential in the development of the brain.
Through exercise, research has found the there is an increase in the production of the BDNF protein, so therefore the natural assumption would be that exercise improves memory.
What is important to note that exercise produces the same results in the brain for any age, including seniors. It is important to keep the blood flowing unrestricted, so a diet that does not clog the veins and arteries, and exercise to move the blood along, are all important for proper and continuous brain function.
New evidence points to the fact that exercise does not have to be rigorous to work. A simple brisk walk, swimming, playing golf, and light aerobics will increase blood flow and improve stamina. In addition, doing mental exercises – ones that work on different areas of the brain and challenges the brain to think, will help to prevent the loss of mental skills.
There have been no specific exercises determined to produce the best results, so anything that gets your heart pumping faster, your blood running smoother, and keeps your brain as sharp as a tack will do. Maintain a balanced diet that is rich in omega-3 fats, plenty of antioxidants, colorful fruits and vegetables will help to unclog those arteries.
If you find yourself getting sluggish in the middle of the afternoon, get up and move. Some simple changes in your lifestyle will be appreciated later on.
Your Health and Fitness Guide http://www.yourhealthandfitnessguide.com
Exercise primes a molecular memory for brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein induction in the rat hippocampus: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T0F-4G65CG0-6&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1722887652&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=66e3947d81eef710575fb56688c606d1&searchtype=a
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-derived_neurotrophic_factor